Time is a unique commodity

Posted on: January 17th, 2014 by admin No Comments

By Dr. Shree Nanguneri

 Time is a unique commodity, so precious with a zero shelf life.

Leverage it wisely with your people and customers.

Tweet # 59

time-is-a-unique-commodityThe purpose of our life on this earth is to take the journey, enjoy it, make a difference when we arrive at the destination so that the next journeyman would have a greater experience and also look forward to it.

There is a saying that “opportunity knocks on the door only once and so greet it with open hearts and hands.”

During my traveling years, often some event would occur that would have me pause and wonder as to why this happened? I would be interested in the root cause and try rigorously finding a solution to fix the problem hoping that it would never occur again. I would engage myself totally into it and even pursue the source and try finding a resolution with them. I invested precious time into it and in some cases I received an acknowledgment, while with the rest, I didn’t receive a nod or “in receipt of your letter,” so to speak.  This was going on for months on my root cause finding and solving spree.

I then asked myself, how do I leverage my time, knowledge, and experience wisely with people and my customers? It dawned on me that all the time I had invested in finding solutions didn’t pay off nor were they pleasant to the person at the receiving end.  Instead, I started something different as I realized that lost time cold never be brought back, nor can I store or shelf away the current precious time I had on my hands. So I asked myself, what would be the best thing to do and have fun along the journey and make it a better place for the next traveler?

This was the time, I also happened to travel more frequently, meaning more opportunities for mistakes, errors, blunders, missed information, leading to all sorts of defects, delays and deviations in my travel plans.  I then said, it is better to sit back and relax finding ways to engage in a conversation with people rather than my book or PC. I then tried a weird experiment of communicating positively with the flight attendant. When she came to me to serve my lunch, I politely asked if it would be fine with her if I can have my meals later at her convenience after she served everyone’s meals. She wasn’t surprised at the request, but her eyes did light up when I added “at her convenience,” as most passengers on her list would want it at their convenience. So she said smilingly, “yes of course sir.” I got the “sir” title as I was sitting in business class, I suppose.

I then went to her seat area where she was getting a bite and asked her if she ever found time to eat meals peacefully without the passengers calling for her with the annoying call bell in an aircraft. She said, rarely, but does make sure she does eat and not starve. She also added that nobody even asks her such questions and that she appreciated it. I then said to her that most people are busy complaining and in particular I was always complaining even though I provided solutions. She then acknowledged the pleasant act. I then replied (while I moved myself to let the walking passenger through the isle) saying, if everyone were to ask you of this, it would probably sound hollow. She laughed and asked me if I was ready for my meals. I responded, saying yes, of course, now that you have had yours, I am sure I would get mine warm and hospitable. She couldn’t bear the joke and started sharing it with other flight attendants.

After serving the meals, she handed me a feedback form for my thoughts and then I asked if she was doing it because I had a bad experience or a great experience. She said of course “great experience.” I then said then why bother, since it is great and there is nothing to fix. She quickly said, we have to have a certain number of good feedback from customers among the total and thought I would be one of those “good” ones. I then acknowledged saying, sure, would be glad to do it.

I then reflected, why not try this in “economy” class and see if the attitude is the same. Of course, I couldn’t do so in the same flight and so chose another day on a different flight randomly different airline and repeated the same behavior of delaying my meals. To my wonder even though two points always make a straight line, the line was drawn quicker than I could think. The flight attendant immediately obliged for a delayed meal at her convenience.  This time, I didn’t have to go to their place and ask of them, and they brought me some appetizers and said I can keep myself busy till my meals arrive. Suddenly it came upon me on how I could shelf goodwill and image, even though I couldn’t shelf time.

I initiated this with members in my network and started calling them when they invited me to join. Keep breaking the rules of engagement wisely and you would soon find a breakthrough in business as well. I always got a response “they never have heard of anyone calling” to discuss joining their network. By doing so, the relationship developed into a professional one and ended up in business contracts as well.

So I learnt that time can be shelved by accumulating goodwill, good behaviors, and good deeds as this habit helps us attract great minds and great opportunities. So my time to close contracts, gain contracts without significant marketing time or dollars reduced. This means, I have shelved time and used it effectively by gaining it where I would have otherwise have to invest it by traditional means that were not paying off so handsomely.  I did this with customers, strangers, friends and acquaintances wherever there was a response.  Surprisingly so, it has paid off domestically and internationally. Of course, one always comes across situations, where there is no response after the first conversation, however, that shouldn’t change my stance or approach or thinking as I could always shelf it with an effort toward the next opportunity that time itself presents to me time after time.

We are so used to wasting away time by thinking we should go around and fix things and people even though we do it sincerely, however, if we just sat back and reflected it is the opposite. People know what their challenges are and don’t need to be told so each time. They are in a situation where they cannot control it and are mere victims to it and just because they are in direct contact with us it doesn’t mean they can change it. I accepted it and instead started showing empathy and compassion, while being brutally business oriented, when they asked for my services In return I invested my blood, sweat, and tears and gave back in multiples of what they invested in for these services.  I also taught a few on how to shelf time in an indirect manner and today some of them are near and dear in my network and even associated partners in business. I am thankful for that and for ever humbled by a precious commodity called “time,” which we all have 24-7-365, but differ in the way we leverage it wisely with our people and customers.

Enjoy your “time” now!


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